Qatar for the first time has introduced online registration for expatriate Haj pilgrims, which begins today.
The Haj Committee has also announced the fares for this year’s pilgrimage, which show about 20 percent increase compared to last year.
Every expatriate wishing to go for Haj will not have to apply online. The electronic registration aims to make the procedures faster and simpler, the committee said yesterday. Earlier bookings were made through the authorised Haj contractors (Muqawils), who are the tour operators.
“The new system will grant equal and fair opportunities for all the expatriate applicants especially in view of the fact that Qatar’s quota is 1,500 pilgrims this year,” said Jassim bin Mohammed Al Kubaisi, deputy chairman of the committee.
Applications should be made on the websitehajj.gov.qa.
Registration will be open for two weeks ending on September 30. The selection process is expected to be brief and fast and the winning applicants will be informed through SMS.
The Committee has urged all aspiring pilgrims to register as soon as possible so that they can complete the other formalities in time, once they are selected.
“Those notified must contact their respective Haj contractor within one week to complete the procedures, or else they will be replaced by others according to priority system,” said Al Kubaisi.
He said efforts are being made to increase the quota, hoping that something positive would come out in the coming few days.
Regarding the new conditions set in the context of swine flu, Al Kubaisi said people who suffer from chronic diseases and those aged above 65 years as well as children who are under 12 years will not be allowed for this year’s Haj.
This, he said, is in accordance with the health conditions agreed upon by Arab health ministers in their meeting last month.
The Haj contractors will distribute special authorisation for pilgrims (both Qataris and residents). This is the first time such a measure has been taken. This will help to control the registration process and have a complete count of the authorisations issued by different Haj contractors, said Al Kubaisi.
The Committee has also urged the pilgrims to strictly follow all the health guidelines issued by the authorities concerned in Qatar as well as in Saudi Arabia.
The Haj fares have been increased due to a rise in the accommodation expenses in Makkah. The tariffs for those travelling by air in the A category have been fixed at QR18,850 (including accommodation in Makkah and Madinah) and at QR16,210 for those who avail of accommodation only in Makkah.
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